“We just want to bring a small light in the tunnel for these kids” – Svitolina on giving it back in Ukraine

The Ukranian and her Foundation are organising a youth tennis tournament in Keiv at the end of this month

Elina Svitolina at 2023 Wimbledon Championships Elina Svitolina at 2023 Wimbledon Championships

Wimbledon semi-finalist Elina Svitolina is turning her focus back home as she works with her Foundation to organize a youth tennis tournament in Kiev, which she hopes will provide a small light to the kids and their impacted families.

“It wasn’t easy. So many courts have been destroyed, and we had to find one with a bomb shelter, in case there is an attack on the city,” Svitolina said in an interview to Harpers Bazaar. “But I’m really happy that the tournament is going ahead and we have over 100 players signed up already. We just want to bring a small light in the tunnel for these kids – many of whom have lost family and friends and have been through so much.”

Svitolina has been among the players who have highlighted the case of Ukraine since the war broke out last year – something that she acknowledges does add some pressure on her.

“I feel the pressure. I knew a lot of people in Ukraine were watching,” the world No 27 said. “It’s a really great feeling but also it comes with responsibility, because it feels like you want to win for so many people – for your whole country. But I feel fortunate to have the big stage to have the opportunity to speak about Ukraine, to raise awareness and speak through my sport. I hope it also gives hope for Ukrainians and for kids as well, even if just for a couple of hours. My goal is to give them the opportunity to continue dreaming about their future.”

“It was a magical, magical tournament for me” – Svitolina

Elina Svitolina
Elina Svitolina at Wimbledon (Chryslene Caillaud/Panoramic)

Looking back at her run to the Wimbledon semi-finals which included a win over world No 1 Iga Swiatek, Svitolina described it as a “magical” tournament and that the support of the crowds helped her enormously.

“It was a magical, magical tournament for me,” Svitolina added. “Of course, I’m little bit upset that I couldn’t go to the finals and have a chance to lift that trophy, but the support from the English crowds meant so much. I can’t even properly explain what a motivation it was,” she continues. “It pushed me through tough moments. If I didn’t play so well or if I started the match not so well, they would push me to continue fighting. I think I got some really tough wins because the crowd was behind me. It made me raise my level.”

People in this post

Your comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *